2020-2021 CAMD Scholars

Mary Muromcew ’22

Sticky Belonging: The Hegemonic Gazes and the Taming of Queer Asian-American Identities

“My presentation is going to share how queer Asian-Americans navigate belonging in the state, the Asian-American community, and the queer community, or what I dub in my paper as ‘cases of belonging.’ My presentation will show how belonging is something that is informed through culture and policy and this dialectical relationship that they share. And by that, I mean that culture and policy inform each other in a closed feedback loop. I will be doing pretty substantial policy analysis. An example of this would be looking at the Immigration Act of 1924, and how the privileging of European immigrants during the immigration process shows how whiteness became anchored in citizenship…The theoretical framework for this presentation is one that emphasizes that things like race, class, gender, [and] sexuality [are] facets of identity, but they’re also systems of power. So it follows that in each place of belonging, there exists a dominant social group whose facets of identity grant them the most institutionalized power. So this group and its hegemonic gaze has the most influence in controlling the terms of belonging… For queer Asian-Americans who exist in this subliminal state in all the places of belonging they occupy, it makes belonging really hard to find.”


Sophia Hlavaty ’21

Magic Kingdom? Deconstructing the Politics of Citizenship and Memory in Disney’s America

“At the most fundamental level, my paper explores how The Walt Disney Company, as a multimedia conglomerate, exerts a unique, considerable force in shaping American cultural formations and understanding of self. I argue that the civic education the company provides for Americans has socialized generations to be citizens of Walt Disney’s version of America, one that remains innocent and exceptional to such a degree that Disney’s America has actually almost become the real America in the public imagination. I evaluate the company’s activities during the Cold War, as a case study to substantiate my claim. The Cold War was a moment in which Americans made explicit attempts to define the nature of American people, history, and values to essentially articulate a counter to the Soviet model. I believe Walt Disney stepped in to quell the anxieties of the American people by proposing, through the company’s body of work, an interpretation of America that stemmed from the company’s conceptualization of the American frontier, though romanticized and highly inaccurate. Disney’s America garnered such power because people were desperate to believe in its narrative of American exceptionalism, morality, liberty, and progress during the Cold War.”


Nana Afia Boadi-Acheampong ’21

Mind the Gap: Traversing the Imagination Gap, Emancipating Children’s Literature

“I’m a passionate reader now. But I was even more so when I was a little kid… But it seemed all the books I read had only white characters. Maybe every once in a while there was a black fairy or a black best friend, whoever, [but] they were never as nuanced as the usual white protagonist was. They weren’t allowed to evolve or have a full emotional range. They were stuck in the dark, fantastic cycle, which is one result of the imagination gap where the belief that a white racial identity is the default, that white is normal. And this imagination gap the publishers, authors, illustrators, and even, consumers of literature have keeps black characters and narratives about slavery, civil rights, or survival in a “white world.” And so in the simplest terms, my project is about the imagination gap, and the ways in which we have kept black characters secluded from mainstream children’s literature, as well as enslaved in the dark, fantastic cycle. I also explore ways that we can emancipate black characters.”

Jerry Shu ’21

Projecting Power: Post-9/11 Action Films and American Imperial Values

“My topic for my presentation is basically studying post-9/11 action films. So I split that into two categories: war films and superhero films, I look at those two sub-genres of action films. And I looked at the imperialistic value that’s inherent in action movies, what’s problematic with them, especially because if you look at box office numbers usually, three or four of them are in [the] top 10, every single year… A couple themes I really noticed were a theme of us vs. them, so, finding an ‘other’ or an enemy to fight against. Also, the theme of violence for justice, because action films cannot operate without having some aspect of violence…Another theme was patriotism…this idea of fighting for the country…You see that more with superhero movies, where, maybe not explicitly…they’re fighting for some sort of organization, fighting for some sort of ideal. You can think of Captain America [as] the most stereotypical idea of [that].”


Editor’s Note: Irene Kwon ’21 is a CAMD Scholar and will be presenting “The Medical Mystery: Racial Disparities in the American Healthcare System.” Katherine Wang ’21 is also a CAMD Scholar and will be presenting Turning Over a White Stage: Disrupting White-Affirming Racial Fetishism in ‘Elite’ White Concert Dance”

Editor’s Note: Sophia Hlavaty ’21 is a News Editor for The Phillipian and Jerry Shu ’21 is an Arts Editor for The Phillipian.